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Film Industry in Wicklow set for boost after County Council Initiative
14 Oct 2015 : Seán Brosnan
The set of 'Vikings' in Ashford Studios
The film and television industry in Wicklow has been given a major boost by the decision of Wicklow County Council to allow for a 100 per cent reduction in development contributions for film studio infrastructure.

The move will encourage the further development of studio facilities in County Wicklow and will facilitate the provision of much needed studio space which in turn will boost employment in this fast growing sector.

Councillors, who approved these initiatives, also agreed to make a case to central government for the raising of the cap on the section 481 tax credit scheme and are seeking an extension of the scheme to 2026, to encourage the development of much needed infrastructure for the film industry.

Cllr John Ryan, Cathaoirleach of Wicklow County Council said: “As the home county of the two leading film studios in the country - Ardmore and Ashford - the elected members of the Council are very aware of the demand for studio space. The successful TV series, ‘Penny Dreadful’ and ‘Vikings’, which are filmed at Ardmore and Ashford respectively, have provided consistent employment in recent years and have injected some €70 million euro into the local economy.”

The initiative by Wicklow County Council represents a saving of €10,000 per 25,000 square feet. This represents a saving of €40,000 on a 100,000 sq ft development.

Mr Brian Doyle, Chief Executive of Wicklow County Council said: “Promoting a film industry cluster in the county and putting in place practical supports to develop leading edge studio capacity is a key objective of the County Wicklow Economic Think Tank, - a collaboration between local business, Wicklow County Council and County Wicklow Local Enterprise Office aimed at driving economic activity in the area.”

He continued: “This approach is consistent with government policy - the Action Plan for Jobs 2015 recognises the need to develop “Ireland’s film and TV sound stage studio infrastructure – and thereby increasing jobs - in the face of growing demand for audiovisual content across multiple platforms.”

Wicklow has had a long history of supporting the film industry which predates the establishment of Ardmore Studios some sixty years ago. Wicklow County Council established the Wicklow Film Commission in 1992, to act as a one stop shop for companies filming here.

Over the year many popular movies and TV series have been made in Wicklow, including: ‘The Tudors’, ‘Braveheart’, ‘Ballykissangel’, ‘The Guard’, ‘Intermission’, ‘Veronica Guerin’, ‘Excalibur’, ‘Barry Lyndon’, ‘Into the West’ and many more.

Morgan O’Sullivan, Managing Director of World 2000 Entertainment said: “We are ideally situated ... we have the rural locations side-by-side with the urban, all the assets are virtually on your doorstep.”

The initiative by Wicklow County Council is part of the implementation of a comprehensive report by the County Wicklow Economic Think Tank which highlighted the film industry as a key target for growth.

In a further move to aid the film industry, the Council is working with partners and the various training and education bodies to develop a skill programme at Wicklow County Campus, Clermont, aimed at meeting the training needs of the industry.

Cllr Pat Casey, Chair of the Economic Development SPC, commented: “There are diverse training needs such industry here in Wicklow so why should we have to send people abroad for training.”

Wicklow County Council also plans to host Ireland’s first Film Summit in 2016. The summit, brainchild of Cathaoirleach Cllr John Ryan, will provide an opportunity for the industry to come together to show just what Ireland – and Wicklow – has to offer as Europe’s premier film-making destination.

Wicklow County Council is taking a very proactive and progressive approach to job creation by improving the overall attractiveness of Wicklow for Business. The members have also voted to reduce development contributions on commercial developments by 20% up to the end of 2018.

Nationally the audio visual content production sector is currently worth €550 million. It employs 6,000 people directly. There are over 500 businesses working in this sector. On ‘Vikings’ alone, there can be 400 people on set on any one day. There were 280 extras and 120 actors and crew on site this week.




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